If parents cannot agree arrangements for where their children will live and when they will spend time with the other parent, they can apply to the courts for a Child Arrangements Order. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the end of things.
It is a fact of life that in most cases, when two people end their relationship, one or both are hurt, upset and angry. These are very strong emotions and are pretty normal and understandable. Where it becomes a problem is when these emotions are allowed to spill over and impact upon the children involved. I am frequently contacted by parents who feel they are in need of advice about something that their ex has or hasn’t done and how this affects their rights to have contact to children. Most have no intention of taking matters through the courts, it’s not something they can afford or even want to do. As an experienced family lawyer I know that except in serious circumstances, Court proceedings should really be seen as a last resort.
In a time when both international families and divorce are on the increase, I very often receive calls from clients who live out of the UK asking whether they can use the English court system to start divorce proceedings. I am often not the first lawyer they have consulted and too often they have received conflicting information. They are unsurprisingly very confused and frustrated in relation to the lack of information and indeed knowledge from the family law profession. ...
I was tempted to entitle this blog Sparkling Cyanide, sadly not a reference to a work by Agatha Christie but in fact a recent case in the family courts which illustrates how the courts become involved when parental ‘responsibility’ isn’t being exercised.